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BA reveals Airbus A380, Boeing 787 Dreamliner seatmaps

By David Flynn     Filed under: British Airways, BA, Airbus A380, Boeing 787

British Airways has unveilled the seating plan for its new Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 Dreamliners, both of which will take to the skies next year.

As previously reported, the British flag-carrier's A380 superjumbo will sport all four classes – from BA's lush First cabin to World Traveller economy and World Traveller Plus premium economy – while on the 787, BA continues the trend reported by Boeing of dropping first class for business, premium economy and economy.

BA Airbus A380 seatmap

The seating chart for British Airways' A380 shows each of the 12 superjumbos will carry 469 passengers across four classes.

As Australian Business Traveller revealed in September, British Airways won't be fitting an all-new Club World business class seat to the A380, opting instead for what a spokesperson described as "an evolution of the current seat".

The lower deck is the domain of 14 lush first class mini-suites, which BA promises will have "extra personal and stowage space" due to the A380's wider main deck compared to the current fleet of Boeing 747s and Boeing 777s.

Back behind the curtain will sit 44 Club World business class seats in a 2-4-2 configuration, followed by 199 World Traveller economy seats arranged 3-4-3.

Upstairs are a further 56 Club World business class seats in a 2-3-2 layout over two four-row cabins. Yes, we know the BA seatmap itself says 53 seats, but with eight rows of seven seats, you do the maths!

There's also a compact World Traveller Plus premium economy cabin of 55 seats in a 2-3-2 configuration, plus 104 more World Traveller economy seats arranged 2-4-2. (Our tip: those upstairs seats will be the ones to pick if you're in World Traveller.)

BA's split-level Club World business class

With Club World split over both decks of the A380 there's some promise for passengers critical of BA's business class seat not offering direct aisle access.

Over the three cabins – one downstairs, two upstairs – six window seats and five centre seats boast direct aisle access, while a pleasing twelve aisle seats have nobody picking their way over you.

BA, Qantas and other oneworld frequent flyers can usually snag these seats before others get their hands on them. 

Interestingly, close scrutiny of the seatmap shows an extra side section in each the rear-facing middle seat. If this is a handy work area or additional inflight storage, these could be a top choice for business travellers.

British Airways has a dozen superjumbos on order, with the first due to arrive in July 2013 followed by three more before the year is out.

While BA as yet to announce routes for the A380, the airline has hinted that Hong Kong will be the superjumbo's debut route, while Hong Kong, Singapore, New York and Beijing are shortlisted for the A380s first commercial destinations.

British Airways is hinting that Hong Kong will be the debut route for its Airbus A380, with first flights around the middle of next year.

BA Boeing 787 seatmap

British Airways' Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner will carry 214 passengers divided into the predictable mix of business, premium economy and economy.

35 Club World business class seats sit at the pointy end in a new 'triple' configuration of 2-3-2, the same as upstairs on the A380. The extra space to the side of centre seats also appears on the A380 upstairs.

That's followed by 25 World Traveller Plus premium economy seats laid out 2-3-2, and 154 World Traveller economy seats split 3-3-3. (More on that economy layout below.)

Read: Boeing 787 customers drop first class

BA has 24 of the 787-8 Dreamliners on order, with the first due in May 2013 and three more by year's end.

A further 16 of the stretched Boeing 787-9s will follow from 2015, although the seating plan for those longer models has yet to be finalised.

BA's Dreamliner dilemna: good for business, bad for economy

Overall, the twin cabin Club World layout on the 787 is great news for business class passengers who appreciate the benefits of direct aisle access.  

A full four window seats and two centre seats don't require you to vault like a gazelle (or hippo) over the person in the aisle. Similarly, a pleasing eight aisle seats don't have a window or centre passenger neeing to clamber their way out.

Bad news for Economy in the final analysis, though: British Airways has plumped for the ultra-dense 3-3-3 layout, where seats are as narrow as you'd find on a Boeing 737 short-range plane hopping between Melbourne and Sydney.

That's fine for a brief flight, but BA previously removed these extra-narrow seats from its Boeing 777 fleet when customers complained. Super-tight seating makes the BA 787 one to avoid in economy on the long haul.

We'll be keeping a keen eye on developments and will bring them to you as soon as we have news. Until then, keep an eye on our Twitter account: we're @AusBT.

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About David Flynn

David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

 

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1 on 11/12/12 by KG

Great you guys got your hands on seatmaps and are able to bring the news! Interesting layout of the A380, I think they are the only airline with business spread over both lower and upper deck? Logistically this will be pretty hard I assume (thinking of stocking the galleys and also servicing the different classes from the same galley). Promising to see that they have 14 First Class seats in the nose of the lower deck on what appears to be as big of a space as QF has 14 seats. BA's config on the 777 and 747 is terrible with as many seats stuffed in a much smaller space.

1 on 11/12/12 by John

Yes, BA will be the only airline splitting it across two decks — and I don't understand it either for exactly the reasons you suggest. If you're downstairs want to visit a colleague upstairs, you'd need to walk through economy, up the stairs, through upstairs economy and premium economy. Unless BA has put in a lift...

1 on 11/12/12 by watson374

I don't get it either, especially in light of the upper deck also having World Traveller at the back. I simply cannot comprehend why BA didn't use most of the upper deck for Club World, with the rearmost section being World Traveller Plus.

I'm open to ideas as to why they've done this, though.

1 on 12/12/12 by Newbie7

I think it's maybe so that they can get the two middle seats facing the same direction in the lower deck, while the upper there are no 'pairs' at all? That was my first reaction when I saw the 787 map.While typing this, I noticed someone else below (Alex Freeman) had the same idea I had! What do you guys think?

1 on 12/12/12 by Newbie7

Sorry, to also add, maybe they'd walk through F and go up the wide front staircase instead of going all the way to the back to visit their colleagues on the different levels? Or would BA not want J to mingle with F at all I wonder?

1 on 12/12/12 by KG

They will never allow J pax to pass through the F cabin (although it is BA, their servcie standards are a hit and miss, but if they would I ams ure F passengers will kick up a fuss). J could walk through Y class and make their way to the upper C cabin.

The theory of "couple" seats is an interesting one, yet I doubt that they have thought it through this much. I think the seperation of different classes and the fact that galleys cater for different service classes which brings along a logistical nightmare in terms of stocking carts etc weighs heavier than ensurign they have an x amount of seats for passengers travelling in pairs.

 

2 on 11/12/12 by radiC00l

I think BA sitting on the sidelines and studying current A380 operators has paid off. Like the fact that each cabin section is not too large. Should help with meal service and also provides a better aesthetic (i.e. not bus-like). Having WT sections join by the back stairs will allow some exercise! Whenever I've been on a QF A380 I feel that they've designed it so that you don't roam. Heavy closed curtains at the end of each cabin section. I also like how they've organised First / CW / WT in order. As a Platinum QF, I really don't like being in the front of economy and then being made to wait for all in First to leave and/or getting attitude from First staff when the plebs start to exit (at airports where there are no dedicated exits and you must leave via First).

1 on 12/12/12 by KG

The BA layout won't make it any easier for high status FF sitting in the front of the eco cabin, there are actually even more pax that are in front of you and will disembark before economy!

1 on 13/12/12 by radiC00l

Thanks KG, although disembarking early wasn't my gripe - I'm actually happy to wait . I just find that First abutting Economy is awkward. They hold back Economy so First can disembark, all the while people edge forward to the front of economy and it gets cramped in the first couple of rows. And don't get me wrong, I think it's fair they look after First pax. However, like I said earlier, on a number of occaisons I've passed through First and the crew seemed displeased that you're using "their" exit! I think if were First then Business then Economy (on QF at least), it would flow better. 

1 on 13/12/12 by KG

I get your point now. Maybe some crew training by QF stating that passengers in economy are also paying customers and normal human beings, hence no nasty looks are appreciated and they should be treated qually would work as well in this case? I have been lucky flying only premium on the A380 and often the front door is in use, which makes disembarking pleasant for both F and Y passengers (esp if they have the second door attached). Indeed, when only one door is used Y passengers will get squeezed as the whole plane is pushing from behind!

3 on 11/12/12 by cooper81

3x3x3 Y class seating on the 787 is a shame BUT you can't blame BA as this configuration seems to be the 'standard' amongst the carriers that have launched the 787.  Maybe this configuration should be known as '787 standard' whereas the 2x4x2 configuration (the Boeing designated 'standard' - in fact they launched the 747 with 9 seats abreast in Y as the standard config - how long did that last?) of launch customer ANA.  JAL, their competitor, followed suit.

But since we have seen pretty much every other carrier opting for a 3x3x3 configuration.  And this isn't the 'oh yes but that airline would squeeze an extra seat in' but also the likes of Qatar who have opted for the 'ultra dense layout'.  Add to that United, Ethiopian, Air India, LAN and LOT.

BA have said that the first 787's that they will receive, the -800 series, will be used to replace 767 routes which tend to be sectors of under 8 hours from London to the East Coast of the USA.  I guess they will wait and see how the nine abreast seating will go down with passengers before confirming the Y seating configuration for the 787-900 which is coming later and will be used to fly 'long, thin routes'.

1 on 12/12/12 by Alex_upgrade

Regarding why they have split CW over 2 deck, I'd say it's because the upperdeck can't accomodate the twin middle seats you see on the present 744 and 777 configuration. These are very popular with couples and people who generally want to travel together, EK also have similar twin seats on the upper deck of the the A380 in J class but the config allows them to do this. BA couldn't have as the A280 upperdeck is too narrow for 8 across.

Solution: keep the traditional 8 across on lower deck for a section and keep those couples happy!

4 on 12/12/12 by JBH

I wonder/hope if the new BA A380's will find there way to SYD on the BA15/16 routing given SIN is shortlisted as a destination, would fill the gap nicely with the retreat of QF's A380's on those sectors...

5 on 12/12/12 by Al

I love that you guys are so 'on the ball' with these stories, as soon as they break AusBT seems to be there! BA certainly does seem to cram passengers into this A380, not even a lounge for first or business! The 787 layout is also a bit curiuous, they have a lot of business class but a very small premium economy! I think United's configuration is the other way around!

1 on 14/12/12 by Brian

All I can say after reading the comments here and looking at that A380 layout for BA is "Give me the EK Business layout any day of the week for a long haul flight". I just love that bar!

1 on 18/12/12 by Jon

And, So say all of Us. Just love any layout with a Bar.

6 on 17/12/12 by lorks

According to this British Airways A380 seat map the three seat difference between the BA numbers and the seatplan is due to 3 seats being reserved for 'crew rest' - which when you think about it is quite logical, as there are only 4 main crew rest seats in the main crew section of the A380, and on the flight to Singapore they will need more than that.

7 on 9/1/13 by Culver

Is it me or is it really that the lavatory located in the last WT section on the upper deck open facing towards the bulkhead passengers?All I could think of is a huge inconvenience for passengers sitting in that front row. Maybe also another indication that the upper deck might be a baby free zone? Because the door seems to open on the side where it used to hang bassinets. 

 

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